Charnwood Borough Council is constantly looking after our local environment.
We maintain over 600 acres of parks, woodlands, and other open spaces; collect tonnes of residents’ recycling each year and we clean the streets, empty bins and pick up litter. We also monitor air quality and tackle nuisance odour complaints.
However, the Council recognised many years ago that it needed to tackle its own impact on the environment and set about reducing its carbon footprint.
We’re pleased to say that under our Carbon Management Plan 2015-2020, the Council reduced its carbon footprint by 37 per cent, well above our initial target of 15 per cent.
Key points from our Carbon Management Plan 2015-2020
- We reduced the Council’s Carbon footprint by 37% by 2018, higher than the original 15% target
- In 2012, it was estimated that our operations produced an estimated 2,161 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) every year.
- By 2018, that was down to 1,361 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year,
- The reduction of 787 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent is a similar amount for carbon dioxide equivalent as produced by heating and lighting 200 homes for a year (based on Committee on Climate change figures 2014)
- We saved £280,000 in energy and fuel costs between 2015-18?, meaning that more funding was available for frontline services
How did we achieve these reductions?
We took a number of steps to achieve these reductions, including:
switching to using renewable electricity, which means all the electricity we use creates zero carbon emissions
- installing highly energy-efficient LED lighting and controls in offices, buildings, car parks including Beehive Lane car park and communal areas of sheltered housing
- installing a more energy-efficient heating system in Charnwood Museum
- swapping some vehicles for electric and more fuel-efficient ones
In 2020, most of our carbon emissions are from the vehicles we use (78%) and our buildings (20%) with the rest being waste and water.
We have 77 vehicles, six of which are electric. The vehicles are used by our housing repairs team, street management, pest control, and our refuse collection vehicles and road sweepers. Our grounds maintenance partner also has vehicles it uses.
Our properties include:
- The main Council offices in Southfield Road, Loughborough
- Loughborough Town Hall
- Woodgate Chambers in Loughborough
- Oak and Ark Business centres
- 12 car parks across the borough including the multistorey Beehive Lane car park in Loughborough
What happens next
In 2021, the Council approved the Charnwood Carbon Neutral Plan 2030, an ambitious plan to achieve Carbon Neutrality from the Council’s operations by 2030.
This means by 2030, while our operations may produce carbon emissions, we will balance that out by contributing to projects, schemes, or initiatives that reduce carbon emissions such as tree planting or producing renewable energy.
The plan’s main aims are to:
- Reduce net carbon emissions from our buildings
- Reduce net carbon emissions from the transport we use (waste collection vehicles, fleet vehicles, staff business travel, street warden vehicles)
- Invest in carbon positive activities
We are focusing on the emissions we can control such as our buildings and the vehicles we use, plus being able to invest in projects that offset carbon emissions such as planting trees or generating renewable energy.
Our baseline carbon dioxide equivalent baseline has been set at 1,130 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, using the 2018-19 year.
We are not focusing at present on emissions we cannot directly control, such as services provided by contractors and tenants. However, as we have said, this plan will evolve over time.
How will we become carbon neutral?
The Carbon Neutral Plan 2030 outlines a series of actions but this is a long-term plan and these actions and the plan itself will evolve over time.
The current actions include:
- planting 14,000 trees in Hathern
- installing more LED lighting across properties
- costing out the addition of double glazing and installing flat roof insulation to Charnwood Museum
- investigating a low or zero-carbon heating system for Loughborough Town Hall
- replacing petrol or diesel fleet vehicles with electric vehicles
- trialling a ‘Smart Bin’ which would use sensors to monitor waste and only be collected when full, reducing the frequency of collections and saving mileage, fuel use, and CO2 emissions
- exploring the potential to:
- create solar farms on Council-owned land or land purchased for this use
- install solar canopy installations at Council-owned car parks to generate electricity for on-site demand, such as lighting, EV charging, or sell on to the grid
- install rooftop solar PV installations across our properties
- carrying out feasibility studies for wind energy generation in the borough. The borough’s emerging Local Plan has identified ‘Opportunity Areas’ – land that has the technical potential for wind energy
- exploring options around improving insulation in our sheltered accommodation complexes
We are on a path to being carbon neutral by 2030 and the plan we have developed is very much in the early stages. It will change and evolve over time.
As part of the plan, we will also be engaging with the local communities to raise awareness of environmental and climate change issues.
We fully recognise the need to work together and protect our environment for future generations.
Last updated: Mon 30th May, 2022 @ 09:57